By EDDIE G. ALINEA
GENERAL SANTOS CITY -– The road to restoring Manny Pacquiao to his old murderous form resumed last week with a 30-minute roadwork at the General Santos Sports Complex oval here.
For the second straight day though, the eight-division world champion who has started preparation for his coming fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez a little over two months from now, canceled his normal workout at the gym later in the day. Trainer Buboy Fernandez said this is to give his boyhood friend enough time to rest his legs.
The 33-year-old Pacquiao and wife Jinkee, along with their families, stayed the whole day Tuesday at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office at Alabel, the capital town of Sarangani province, to file their respective Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) for next year’s mid-term political exercise.
The former pound-for-pound king, a congressional first-timer, is running for re-election as lawmaker representing the lone district of the province, while Jinkee is running for vice governor, also of Sarangani.
“No problem really,” Fernandez explaining his ward’s second day no show at the People’s Champ Gym inside the Family Country Hotel compound at the heart of this city.
“Let’s give him a little more time to rest. Four months siyang walang boksing at hindi kailangang mabigla,” he said. “I don’t want to give him unnecessary pressure. Baka sa halip na makatulong ay makasama pa. Ang importante naman at this initial stage of the camp is roadwork to start building up Manny’s stamina,” Fernandez, a close ally of the “Pacman” from the time he begun his boxing career 16 years ago, explained.
Fernandez said they started the training at least two weeks earlier than their usual eight-week program “to regain Manny’s stamina.”
“The real McCoy naman talaga ay pagdating sa U.S. kung saan the camp will turn serious, Fernandez pointed out. Pagadating kay (Freddie) Roach, doon talaga magsisimula ang preparasyon, that will include feeling his way atop the ring, conditioning and tactics and strategies,” he said.
It is at the Roach-owned Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles where the amended training program will take effect.
“We expect kasi na pagdating kay Roach, bubugbugin na siya sa ensayo. Kaya kailangan may lakas siya para tumagal. At ‘yun ang ginagawa namin ngayon,” he added.
The GenSan camp had actually started exactly a week ago when Buboy and younger brother Haplas Fernandez arrived here following a summon from Pacquiao whose idea is to advance by two weeks his training regimen.
All those days, Pacquiao, besides running at the oval, has been doing the mitts with Buboy, punishing the heavy bags, the double end and speed balls in very light sessions inside the gym.
Buboy attested, too, that even Pacquiao’s religious activities — bible study and preaching — had been reduced to minimal.
“Hindi naman mawawala ‘yun eh. Ang kailangan na lang, suportahan siya sa bago niyang gawain. Doon siya dinala at nagugustuhan naman niya,” Fernandez said.
Fernadez said the early preparations will slowly but surely bring Pacquiao in tip-top shape come his Dec. 8 fourth bout with Marquez in Las Vegas.
“Ano lang ba, para pagpawisan, mabawasan ang mga unnecessary fat at lumuwag ang kasu-kasuan. Matagal nang nabakante at siyempre kinakalawang na,” he said in his Visayan accent.